Street meetings in Boston in the 1930's were very popular among believers eager to share their faith with neighbors. In my early teens, my parents insisted I accompany them when our church gathered at the street corner to sing and witness about Jesus. Frankly, I felt very awkward as passersby and kids my age gawked and laughed at us. I became especially uneasy one day when I saw my classmate coming toward us. Wow! What will he think when he sees me standing with this group? How will he treat me tomorrow in school? More laughter? Ugh!
I decided to hide my songbook and pretend to be an onlooker, not a participant. But as I stood with my book by my side, the Holy Spirit strongly convicted me: "You, -- ashamed of Jesus?" In a flash I was reminded that Jesus miraculously helped my parents and me at a time when no one else could. With that, -- I quickly raised my songbook and sang with the others so all could see that I belonged to this Jesus crowd. For a moment my ears burned and my heart pounded wildly as I sensed the stares of the onlookers. I admit, I came close to denying the Lord, but oh how good I felt about not being ashamed of Jesus.
I. Satan, -- the father of lies. (John 8:44)
The devil, arch enemy of God and His people, constantly distorts God's truth. Ridiculing and lying, he attempts to intimidate the followers of Jesus. He tries to make them feel, that they appear as misfits, out of touch with reality, culturally incorrect, and portrays them as enemies of society. By getting them to feel ashamed of their relationship with Christ, he hopes to silence their testimony.
Satan delights to persecute believers, deny them their rights, tempt them to be silent and behave like "closet" Christians. He did this to Peter during Jesus' arrest (Mt. 26:72). Currently, to be accepted by society, great pressure is put on believers to compromise their faith in Jesus Christ: ( they are told: "Believe if you wish, but keep your mouth shut"). But such surrender means, we deny our Lord and treat Him as one whom we don't know. (Mt. 26:69-75; Lk. 22:55-62).
II. God, -- worthy of praise.
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things" (Rev. 4:11). "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing" (Rev. 5:12).
God's love, grace, and generosity are beyond compare with any other. "God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners" (Rom. 5:8 NLT). How can we justify being ashamed of our Lord and Savior? God encourages us with: "Be glad...and rejoice...ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God who hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed" (Joel 2:23-27).
The Psalmist expressed his delight with the Lord: "He brought me up out of a horrible pit...set my feet on a rock...put a new song in my mouth...I have not refrained my lips, O Lord...I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation, I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation" (Ps. 40:2-10). After all God did for him, David was not about to keep silent. Apostle Paul boldly declared, "I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:16 NLT) "I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the One in Whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have trusted to Him, until the day of His return" (2 Tim. 1:12 NLT).
III. God expects us to boldly stand up for Him.
Jesus said, "If a person is ashamed of Me and My message in these adulterous and sinful days, I the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when I return in the glory of My Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38 NLT). The Lord will deal harshly with those who know about His love, but choose not to know Him. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thes.1:8). These, are people who do not want to know Him, that deny Him, that are ashamed to be identified with Him. What a tragedy!
Believers must be bold for Christ, not only because of personal benefits received, but because their public testimony is vital to the salvation of the lost. "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. But how can they...unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? (Rom.10:13,14 NLT).
History will assert that bold witnessing for Christ has dramatically changed ruined lives, healed broken hearts, spared nations from certain destruction. It has given hope to the hopeless, and new life to the spiritually dead. Shall we dare to keep this vital information from those who are perishing? How can we?
Our boldness for Christ makes Him happy (John 15:11). It is also the way by which to defeat the devil. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony" (Rev. 12:11). Boldness for Christ produces spiritual strength, victory, and an eternal crown (1 Pet.5:4). "Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown" (Rev.3:11). Ashamed of Jesus? After all He's done for us? Never! Let's join Paul in declaring: "I will always be bold for Christ...my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or die. For me, living is for Christ" (Phil.1:20,21 NLT).